Strong Industries Inc.’s president, Wade Spicer, started his company from a college dorm room in 1992, with himself as the only employee. He was finishing his last semester at Alfred University and read a newspaper article about an incubator program to help launch businesses in the glass industry. He had already been accepted to law school but decided to start his own company instead and enrolled in a few courses on fiberglass. The name Strong was inspired by the strength of fiberglass.
The business’s original products were pet-related. He had the help of a few high school friends to get started. Over time, his operations moved from Sayre to Williamsport. The move to Williamsport allowed the purchase of largescale plastics manufacturing equipment and shifted operations to include becoming a contract manufacturer to OEMs in various industries. Strong built bumpers, wheel wells and water tanks for the motor home industry, displays for the shower, bath and golf industries, plastic parts for the automotive industry, and high-pressure hydraulic tanks for the national defense industry, just to name a few. By the late 1990s, the growing company needed additional space, and purchased the current company headquarters in Northumberland.
Today, Strong Spas is one of the largest hot tub manufacturers in the world, and one of the few hot tub manufacturers with plant operations in the USA. Strong Spas are proudly custom built at Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities and are shipped throughout North America and Europe. Taking great pride in its all-American heritage, the brand has been a global leader in spa manufacturing since 1994, shipping to over 40 countries. Through its innovations, Strong Spas has imprinted its status as one of the leading hot tub manufacturers in terms of both quality and features. Their unique, patented DURA-SHIELD® HardCover was engineered to provide the industry’s toughest protection and ultimate thermal efficiency. This cover can hold well over 1,000 pounds, minimizing the risk of kids or pets entering while blocking out debris and snow.
They market their hot tubs through an authorized dealer network of brick-and-mortar stores across North America and Europe, as well as through specialty retailers like Mattress Firm. A significant portion of sales are through ecommerce sites such as Costco (US and Canada), Sam’s Club, Home Depot, BJ’s Wholesale, Wayfair, Amazon and MyHotTub.com.
Why does Strong Spas choose PenTeleData? Adam Tressler, Strong Spas’ Director of IT, explained, “PenTeleData is a local and trusted company that has been around for several years. Strong has a long history with PenTeleData partners such as Ironton Telephone and Service Electric. We’ve had a dedicated fiber line in place for about ten years at our main production facility in Northumberland that is supported by PenTeleData. Our factory outlet store in Lewisburg and the up-and-coming production facility in Danville both utilize their broadband Internet.” When asked about the reliability of PenTeleData’s services and support, he shared, “Outside of natural disasters we have had excellent service. The few times we have run into issues, support is very prompt, insightful, and helpful.”
Like many businesses, Strong has seen their share of challenges. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 resulted in sky-rocketed energy costs. Later, after the events of 9/11, skyrocketing energy costs caused many of their buyers to scale back or go out of business entirely. That’s when Strong Spas began creating more proprietary products. This led to the creation of the Colosseum Pool, one of the best above-ground swimming pools. The seasonality of the pool led to the less seasonal hot tub product line in 2004. Then, in 2006, just as they were ramping up pool and spa production, the recession began. When the housing bubble burst, the hot tub industry took a huge hit too. The swimming pool industry, their other main product, followed the same path. While many similar companies closed completely, Strong weathered the storm. Unfortunately, in 2008, just as business was building up again, their building suffered a major plant fire. Despite all of this, they continued to grow and develop new products. Most recently, unlike the pandemic challenge to most businesses, the struggle for Strong Spas has been a bit different. When vacations turned into staycations, their business thrived as the demand for pools and spas has increased dramatically. Strong Spas recently bought and renovated a 200,000-square foot facility in Danville that has four new assembly lines, with a pending addition of 400 new jobs. In addition, a second shift with 200 additional workers are being added to its current site in Northumberland and they will add another full staff for a third shift by Spring 2022, nearly doubling their number of staff since pre-pandemic operations. While that doesn’t sound like a challenge, Mr. Spicer said it’s been difficult to find enough employees. Once they are fully staffed, the increased production will also bring a greater demand for their networking infrastructure and capacity demands.
At PenTeleData, we’re proud to serve Strong Industries Inc. We know that every company faces unique obstacles and varied periods of growth, so our fully redundant fiber optic network is ready for whatever those changes may entail, as proven by the increased need of Internet services during and since the pandemic. Our partnership has invested more than $300 million in fiber optic infrastructure, with nearly 10,000 miles of fiber optic cabling and 60 nodes for diversity and redundancy. We have private peering agreements with major national content providers and cache servers to reduce network congestion and interconnect agreements that allow us to expand our footprint to serve multiple locations. One of our greatest assets is being locally owned - it allows us to make decisions faster and support our customers better, for everything from reliable, scalable fiber-based solutions, including dark fiber, to broadband services, Cloud-Based Business Voice services, and an I.T. Services team.